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We Can't Even Get the Pizza Put Up

Updated on March 7, 2009

When arguing gets in the way of relationship

Have you ever had one of those days, you know, the kind where you and another person that you love just can't seem to get along. Recently my daughter and I were having one of those days. In the evening we had pizza. All was well until it was time to put the pizza up. I asked her to put the pizza up, which led to a long argument. Neither one of us would budge. After the argument was over we laughed and said, "We can't even get the pizza put up."

Yes, it seems that many times the simple tasks in life become difficult due to a breakdown in a relationship. What causes those breakdowns and how can you get past those times? Hopefully the following will be of help to you.


Causes of arguments and fights

While each circumstance is unique, there are some general causes of arguments and fights between two people.

1. Misunderstanding

I have often been embarrassed when I thought I knew everything and insisted of a certain thing only to find out later that I didn't have all the facts. For example, when someone speaks in a sharp tone to you, do you know why they responded that way? Maybe they received bad news that you are unaware of. It could be that they are not feeling well, or there may be some other factor at work that you don't see at the moment.

I also have had arguments with someone because I did not hear them properly. I misunderstood what they said or the way they said it, which led to my becoming upset and starting an argument.

One way to avoid fights and arguments is to try to understand where the other person is coming from.

2. Bad mood

We all have days where we wake up in a bad mood and just cannot seem to snap out of it. On those day you don't like to be bothered and tend to be short with others. You want people to understand. Remember, that others have those bad days as well and need you to have patience with them.

3. Selfishness

There are times when I want something and cause problems in the home until I get my way. We all struggle with selfishness. Note what James says in the Bible in James 4:1-3:

What causes fights and quarrels among you? Don't they come from your desires that battle within you? You want something but don't get it. You kill and covet, but you cannot have what you want. You quarrel and fight. You do not have, because you do not ask God. When you ask, you do not receive, because you ask with the wrong motives, that you may spend what you get on your pleasures.

While James was speaking about relationships in the church, these words could easily be applied to any relationship. Selfishness definitely hinders our ability to get along.

4. Stubbornness

A person who is stubborn can create something out of nothing. When you put two stubborn people together, you have the recipe for a serious fight. If you struggle with stubbornness you know what a battle it is to compromise and let go of your personal desires in a given situation. Giving in and working to fulfill the other person's desires or listening to their opinion has it's rewards.

This is not an exhaustive list. I encourage you to understand what tends to cause arguments in your home or other relationships, then when you see those flash points coming up to work to avoid the argument.

Ever feel like these two cats?

Arguing well

Arguments cannot be avoided all together, so here are some tips on how to argue without a meltdown in the relationship.

1. Establish boundaries

My wife and I have established a list of boundaries that must not be crossed when an argument is coming on. For example, you must stop talking and listen to the point the other person is making. Often, we get so involved in making our point heard that we fail to listen to what the other person is saying.

Establishing boundaries and sticking with them goes a long way in helping arguments stay at bay. By the way, if someone crosses a boundary, simply and gently remind them of the boundary.

2. Listen!

I struggle to listen to what the other person is saying. I want to be heard. The problem is that this only heightens the situation, rather than bringing it to a successful end. It doesn't come automatic for most of us. So, it will take effort and discipline to learn to listen, but doing so is worth it. I found out that when I listen, then my wife is then willing to listen to me.

3. Determine that the relationship is more important than being right

When we come to the end of our life, the people in our life will be what matters, not all the times that we were right. If your spouse is distant with you, does it really matter that you won the argument?

Remember that the other person is more important than the point you are trying to make.

What is the greatest factor in moving beyond an argument?

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Moving beyond the argument

Whether the argument has gone bad or turned out as you had hoped, you must move on. Here are some things to remember as you move on.

1. Forgive

Forgiving the other person does not let them off the hook, but it does restore the relationship. You cannot move on without forgiving each other whatever hurts you may have experienced.

2. Make sure the issue is resolved

Even if the issue is resolved with you it may not be with the other person. Make sure that they are okay with the result. If not, do whatever work needs to be done to get the issue resolved.

3. Move on

Once the argument is over and the issue is taken care of you need to move on. Don't bring it up again, and especially don't use it as ammunition in future arguments.

It is also important to remind the other person that you love them and are committed to a relationship with them. Arguments and fights can cause a gap between the two of you. Make sure that unity is restored.

4. Learn from the situation

There are lessons to learn from an argument. The argument started, because someone dropped the ball or because there was a misunderstanding. So, learn the lesson from the situation and grow as a person.

Arguments can cause a meltdown in a relationship or cause it to grow stronger. Life without disagreements, arguments, or even fights is not realistic. However, the two of you can grow closer if you are truly committed to each other no matter what.


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